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How can I see my retired internal drive?


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4 replies to this topic

#1 tos226

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Posted 08 October 2012 - 07:31 PM

Currently on my laptop is XP Pro SP3.
I have a drive which once was my internal laptop boot drive with Windows home and two other partitions, retired when I replaced that drive by a larger one.
Long ago when I connected it as a USB drive, it wanted to run Windows patches, which of course I didn't want nor need, since the purpose is just to hold it as is and maybe drag few files out.
So I wrote myself a sticky note, the real kind, to next time connect it holding SHIFT key so nothing would try to run.
Well, so I did just that today.
It's in devices as a USB Mass storage device, totally correct.
But it has no drive letters and basically invisible to windows explorer.

So my question is - how can I get to the drive contents on the system partition as well as the other data partitions without it triggering booting or other undesireable things?

Edited by hamluis, 08 October 2012 - 07:59 PM.
Moved from XP to External Hardware - Hamluis.


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#2 hamluis

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Posted 09 October 2012 - 08:06 AM

If you have a drive attached as a USB device...Windows does not/cannot boot from it.

Windows cannot run when it is anything other than the boot drive inside the computer, IME. Any other drive which is attached...no matter what is on it, Windows or not...will be seen merely as a storage drive, reflecting whatever files are placed on that drive. It will not be viewed as a bootable drive, but as a USB-connected device.

So...I don't understand what you are talking about.

Any hard drive attached as a USB device...should automatically be assigned the next available drive letter which has not been used.

If Windows fails to recognize such drive, that is a problem with either the drive or the connection, IMO. A functional problem with either may result in the drive being detected in Device Manager...but not in My Computer.

Louis

#3 Platypus

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Posted 09 October 2012 - 08:51 AM

Like Louis, I'm dubious about there being any interaction between the installations. I've done exactly as you describe both over USB and on IDE or SATA internal interfaces many times, to extract data from unbootable drives, without any difficulties. I suspect that by chance on the first occasion the live Windows installation on the computer had automatically downloaded Windows updates to apply to itself, and some had "install on next boot" status.

How does Windows display the drive in Disk Management?

To work out if the drive has simply died in its period of disuse, or if some quirk is upsetting the drive allocation in Windows, I'd suggest looking at the drive over USB from a Linux Live boot CD/DVD, and seeing if Linux can mount it. If not, then possibilities are faulty drive, faulty USB adapter or adapter & drive don't like each other for some reason. If Linux is happy with the drive, you should be able to access files and then a reformat might sort it out.

Edit: Just remembered, the last drive I had to do this with has a problem that makes it take 10 minutes or more to be ID'd and get a drive letter over USB. I've extracted genealogy records from it for the friend who owns it, but to access it, I've just got to go away and leave it for as long as it takes to mount.

Edited by Platypus, 09 October 2012 - 08:56 AM.

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#4 tos226

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Posted 10 October 2012 - 09:06 PM

I did get it to work, got few files I was looking for, then followed up to make me instructions, hence the delay to your handy suggestions :)
Situation is still a bit muddy. For instance when I boot Linux partition it behaves the same as Windows. I tried it several times, since Linux never fails to see things, except this time.
It appears that the power switch on my enclosure plays a role. If I connect the drive with the switch off and turn it on, explorer isn't showing drives even though it dings and is in devices. But when I connect with the switch in the on position, I do get drive letters after some delay, perhaps a minute or so.
Power switch state makes no difference on another computer where it's only usb1 and is pentium3 Compaq, and the drive connected directly to the box.
7-port powered hub also seems to play a role, but that's not clear to me yet. Direct connection to the laptop seems to have better luck.

It trying to boot from the old drive is not happening, as it shouldn't, this time.
hamluis, honestly it did happen, and went for updates. Since then, my auto updates service isn't running anyway so it would not succeed.
Platypus, interesting comments from you as well. I'm not dealing with a defective drive, it was perfectly fine when I removed it. When explorer doesn't issue drive letters, control panel Drive management doesn't even display the drive, even though hardware>devices sees it. When drive letters appear, then mmc sees everything just fine.
Anyway, what happened ages ago with the updating attempt, I have no idea :(

Thank you both for making me try harder. Muddy as my conclusions are, things are ok.

Edited by tos226, 10 October 2012 - 09:11 PM.


#5 hamluis

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Posted 16 October 2012 - 05:22 PM

You're happy...we're happy :).

Louis




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